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Rights to light: Beaumont Business Centres Limited v Florala Properties Limited

20/03/2020

 

By Tom Kibblewhite


The recent High Court decision in the right to light case between Beaumont Business Centres Limited v Florala Properties Limited has some significant points that are worthy of note to developers and adjoining owners.  The case involves an extension into a lightwell by Florala that impacted on the light to the windows of Beaumont’s serviced office building.  These windows were already not well lit and the extension into the lightwell reduced the light to these windows further.  Mr Peter Knox QC (sitting as Deputy Judge of the High Court) found in favour of Beaumont and entitled them to an injunction, subject to conditions.  In the event that Beaumont decides not to meet the conditions, or is unable to, then damages of £350,000 is payable to Beaumont in place of an injunction.

Clearly each case with turn on the individual facts, but some points of interest that were commented on in Mr Peter Knox QC’s judgement are:

  1. That an injunction remains the primary remedy for a right to light injury.
  2. The reinforcement that artificial light is not considered when assessing a right to light claim.
  3. That the Waldrum tests ‘have stood the test of time’ and provides a useful starting point, but other forms of daylight analysis may also be used.
  4. That reflected light from a neighbour’s building into the windows cannot be relied upon, and so should not form part of the assessment of the level of light.
  5. That poorly daylit rooms can have actionable loss, even if the reduction in light is small.
  6. That a share of the developer’s profit on the parts of the development may be used to establish the quantum of damages.

At the time of writing it is not known if the decision will be appealed.

 

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